Game Report: Cardinals 6, Braves 5

By Rob Rains

The Cardinals’ streak of scoring at least eight runs came to an end at six games on Saturday night – but the more important streak remains intact.

A balanced offensive attack that included an RBI from six players carried the Cardinals to their eighth consecutive win, equaling their longest winning streak since they won nine games in a row in 2004.

The Cardinals got solo homers from Randal Grichuk and Paul DeJong as they improved their record to five games over .500, one game below their high point of the season. They were six games over .500 on May 14.

Here is how the game broke down:

At the plate: Grichuk hit his 15th homer of the year in the second inning and DeJong launched his team-leading 17th leading off the seventh. Combined with the 13 homers he hit in Memphis before he was called up at the end of May, DeJong now has a total of 30 for the season … Carlos Martinez got his ninth RBI with a single in the second, and the Cardinals’ other RBIs came from Tommy Pham, Dexter Fowler and Greg Garcia … During the eight-game winning streak the Cardinals have a composite batting average of .307 with 13 homers, 18 doubles and have scored 68 runs.

On the mound: After his customary struggles in the first inning, giving up two runs, Carlos Martinez allowed just one more run – a home run by Brandon Phillips – before leaving for a pinch-hitter in the sixth. He allowed seven hits, walked one and struck out seven as he got his record back to .500 at 9-9 … Tyler Lyons worked around two walks in the eighth and threw two scoreless innings, extending his streak without allowing a run to 13 consecutive appearances … Trevor Rosenthal gave up two unearned runs in the ninth when he got in trouble because of two walks and a fielding error by Matt Carpenter before allowing a bases-loaded single to Freddie Freeman. He stranded the tying run on third by striking out Nick Markakis to end the game.

Key stat: Rosenthal had allowed only one run in his previous 16 1/3 innings. He has converting seven consecutive saves, four coming during the eight-game winning streak. He has 28 strikeouts and just three walks in his last 15 appearances.

Worth noting: Martinez has now allowed 18 runs in the first inning in his 24 starts this season, an ERA of 6.75 … Jedd Gyorko was a late scratch because of irritation in his right knee. He has missed four of the last seven games … Aledmys Diaz started at third base for Memphis on Saturday night, the first time he has played anywhere other than shortstop (except DH) since he was sent down in late June … Patrick Wisdom hit his team-leading 25th homer for the Redbirds and Stephen Piscotty hit his second in three games since he was optioned last week.

Looking ahead: Michael Wacha will get the start in the finale of the series on Sunday while R.A. Dickey is scheduled to start for the Braves. The Cardinals will be trying to complete a season sweep of the Braves, having gone 5-0 so far this season against Atlanta.

Follow Rob Rains on Twitter @RobRains